Friday, July 17, 2009

Uncle David's Mini Me

See this guy? He's my uncle David. Growing up, he and aunt Barbara were among my favorite people in the whole world. Still are to this day actually. Back in 1990, my family took the leap of moving from NY to FL, whereas aunt Barbara and uncle David took off to Utah. I think it was partially a matter of, well, our parents are gone (uncle David and dad's) so there's nothing holding us here anymore. My dad followed his dream of meeting Mickey Mouse and uncle David moved his business to the gorgeous mountains of Utah.

For me, this was a new phase of my life. One where Sunday dinners with all the family around were a thing of the past. Whereas I was excited to move to Florida and have a new beginning, I also mourned the loss of my close-knit Italian family. Things would never be the same again, I thought. And of course, I was right.

For a long time, aunt Barbara and uncle David made the trip to FL to spend Christmas with us, but now it's becoming more and more rare and literally breaks my heart. I miss them. I miss my cousins, my beloved Chessie, and her brother, David. And now they've both got spouses that I adore too!

Chessie, 2004

Chessie and her hubs, Michael

Cousin David and his baby, Scarlett

David's baby mama, Tajha.

This is part of the family that I love and miss every day. And I suppose it's human nature to take for granted that they'll always be there. And then you get a kick in the ass in the form of a phone call, this one from my aunt Barbara.

AB: Hi Justine, it's aunt Barbara (duh)

Me: Hi aunt Barbara! Is this important, or can I call you back? I'm poopin'.

AB: It's important.

Me: What's wrong?

AB: Your uncle is in the hospital. He had a renal carcinoma removed yesterday. But he's fine now!


So yeah, as I sat there upon the potty aunt Barbara explained to me that uncle David had signs of a urinary tract infection just one too many times for comfort and forced him to see a urologist. And when I say forced, I mean forced. The man is horrified, terrified of doctors. Never ever goes. Being that aunt Barbara is an R.N. he just lets her take care of him, diagnose him, etc. Not very smart, but for many years it's worked. Until now.

A CAT scan showed an enormous tumor on his kidney which was deemed cancerous, but, miracle of all miracles, encapsulated. Meaning, it was just one tumor, sitting there all on its lonesome, without spreading anywhere. The fact that this tumor, which my brother suggests we name Mini Me, weighed in at 17 pounds, is nothing less than shocking.

So three days ago, uncle David was admitted to the hospital where his surgeon removed his kidney, renal gland, and Mini Me, leaving uncle David weighing 17 pounds less within hours. He was told that this type of tumor grows approximately 2 cm per year, so this sucker had been inside him, growing steadily, for 10 years at the least.

So far, he's been resting comfortably due to an epidural drip, but I do believe they were removing that today. Let the moaning and groaning commence!

Aunt Barbara had a suitcase packed, so she hasn't really left his side since the surgery. Chessie flew in from her home in OH last week and will remain there in Utah until next Wednesday. She's also an R.N. so is well equipped to help out with uncle David's recovery. Cousin David has been spending as much time with his dad as he can but I think he's a little freaked out by the whole hospital thing. Can't say I blame him.

Anyway, this whole post is basically a way to say, don't take for granted the people you have in your life, whether they live next door, or across the country. Don't let petty arguments and grudges pull you away from what's most important. The love of your family, the memories you've made with them, and the future you want to spend with them. Love them like there's no tomorrow, because really? There may not be.

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

32 "Sister" Lovin' Friends Said:

  • Nikki via The Scarlett Rose Garden

    WOW. Poor Uncle David! I hope he heals quickly and comfortably.

    17 POUNDS. Holy crap.

    Great post, beautiful fam.

  • Anonymous

    I'm so sorry about this sudden news about your uncle. My Dad's recent breathing problems has me thinking along the same lines. You just never know. (((Hugs)))

  • Cole

    Big hugs, girl! I hope he's on the road to recovery and I'll keep the whole family in my prayers.

  • blueviolet

    Amen. When all else is gone, family will be there.

    I loved this post, Justine. Thanks!

  • Life on Bonnie Lane

    Well this answers the question I asked Jill of how a doctor missed this, since you are telling us that in all those years he never went to a doctor! I'm so glad your aunt forced him to go. I bet he is freaked out by the fact that he had this huge thing in him for so long and didn't even know it! I'm so glad that it didn't spread and that he will be fine.

    On the other hand, what a novel way of losing weight! Good thing he isn't in the contest for Stephanie's Gucci bag...would probably have won it, lol.


  • Grand Pooba

    Oh no! At least he is doing well now, and 17 pounds lighter. To think that I live in the same city as these people that you love and miss? Guess that means you'll have to come visit Utah.

    Like tomorrow!

  • Chocolate Covered Daydreams

    Sad that Uncle David was so stubborn that he had to be forced to see the doctor but now, maybe he won't be so stubborn.

    You definitely speak words of truth...cherish those moments with our loved ones.

  • Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria

    Oh Tiney what a wonderful post you did my friend...prayers coming to your family...and girl I had an 8 lb tumor on my ovary like that...and you are so right each day is a blessing to live for....May you have a great weekend my friend...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  • Shelia

    Oh, Justiney! I'm sorry to hear this about your Uncle David, but to thankful to know he finally was forced to go get checked out! Hope he heals soon and doesn't give your Aunt Barbara the fits! He's a man, ya know! LOL

    Justiney, you're so right about family! They are so important.

    Now speaking of important, BJ at Sweet Nothings has posted a special drink for you! I told her I would wrestle you for it! :)

    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  • imjacobsmom

    Wow! I hope your Uncles doing okay. But with all of that RN care he is in good hands. (I wish that I could lose an instant 17 pounds.) But seriously, you're right about family you just never know what tomorrow will bring so you really should make an effort to stay in touch. It's easy to get caught up in your own thing and before you know it days, weeks and months go by. ~ Robyn

  • Ginger

    Great post. It's true you never know when it's someone's time to go. I'm glad that your uncle's tumor was finally discovered and that the cancer hasn't spread. I hope he has a smooth recovery.
    17 lbs is a lot to carry around in the form of a tumor.

  • Tootsie

    what an ordeal! I hope he makes a speedy recovery! I think your message in this post is so true.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!
    I finally got some flowers in that post if you really need to see!!

  • NurseChessie

    thanks for making me tear up before I go to bed.... and mini me? I think thats the winner!!!

  • Tami

    I'm just amazed at the weight of this tumor! Poor guy. I'm so happy everything has been so positive with the results! YOUR FAMILY IS TRULY BLESSED!
    Love ya gurlie!

  • nikkicrumpet

    I'm glad he's going to be that is one big honkin tumor! And you're right...we should never take the people we love for granted!

  • lilsista

    Hope your uncle has a speedy recovery and that he goes home soon! Hope you enjoy your weekend and that all is well with you too. Take care! :0)

  • Secondary Roads

    17 pounds?
    Sounds more like twins to me.

    Hope your uncle recovers quickly.

  • xinex

    I read this on Jill's post and glad that the tumor is encapsulated and that it was completely removed successfully. It would be nice to be 17 lbs lighter. I hope your uncle continues to do well, Justine...Christine

  • squawmama

    Hey Tiney... Sure hope your Uncle recoups fast... It is the truth... I just lost a brother this past week to cancer and of course my scare with it... Live life the best you can because you just don't know... Have fun and enjoy it!!! Love you


  • Lavender Chick

    I can't believe that Mini Me was 17 pounds! Just amazing that he wasn't having discomfort until recently. Anyway - glad to hear that he's doing well; what a miracle!

  • cindy

    This was an eye opening post! Thanks! My moose says HI!

  • Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

    Poor Uncle David! 17 pound tumor? Holy Cow! Glad he's doing OK - loved this post, Justine - thanks for reminding us to keep our priorities straight. :)

  • bj

    Bless your heart, Tiney...I so understand how you feel. Being the old lady that I am, I am left without much family at all. My memories of my mama's house, full of aunts, uncles, cousins, brother..all my life I had these people close..then, I grew up, got older and they all began to move away..or die. I still have a few cousins left...and, of course, my great family of kids, grandkids
    (10) and one great granddaughter.
    But, I, too, sure miss my mom, dad, uncles and etc. I'm lonely !!
    O, and I live in TEXAS !! I talk with a Southern drawl and you'd probably laugh at it. I say ya'll and you probably say "you guys"..right?? ;O)

  • Kathy

    Hi Justine, wishing your uncle a speedy recovery, hope you can all get together soon.

    So happy you found the Heliotrope, and for that great price, it may take a while but you are going to love it, it smells just like Vanilla cream soda. happy gardening, Kathy.

  • Jason, as himself

    UGH! That's horrible.

    But I like that you guys can joke about it.

    I hope he is okay.

  • mommynoodles

    Good "LORD" have mercy 17 pounds! That's scarey to say the least! Thank "GOD",it did not spread and all is going well thus far! He will be in my prayers! Natalie,
    (Your farming neighbor) lol

  • Elizabeth

    This is a very touching post, Justine. It's even more significant that you gave up time on the farm to write it. Hope your uncle heals well.

  • Picket

    Oh my word I started reading this I was already tearing up from memories of my own childhood with my favorite aunts and uncles and Sunday most all nearly all gone and then I read on about your uncle...oh my terrifying that must have been for him ..but I praise the Lord that it was not spreading and that they got it and I pray that he heals quickly...You are right is so iomportant and nothing is worth fighting and having splits in the them..even when it them and let them know you love them..this life life if over way to fast and I don't want any ya girl...

  • Fragrant Liar

    OMG, that's an incredibly large tumor. 17 pounds? I mean, that's unreal. I hope he gets through this well and that you get to see him real soon. You're right. You have to appreciate all those family members. It's such a shame we are all so far apart from so man of our family members these days. Live, learn, and love!

  • Diane @ Four Paws and Co

    Beautiful post Justine! I hope your Uncle David is doing well & on the road to recovery. ♥ Diane

  • Anonymous

    I sure hope and pray your uncle is well on his way to recovery. My Dad had a kidney removed years ago with cancer, lived his life to the fullest afterwards. I love your site. I'm going to have to spend some time here and catch up.

    Love Ya,

  • sue

    Wow what a story! Isn't it weird how kidney tumors don't spread and can easily be removed! So glad your Uncle will be just fine! I had a 10 centimeter cyst on my ovary and was hoping I woulda lost 20 lbs when it was removed with the ovary 5 yrs ago, oh no such luck!! LOL! Not a lb was lost!